News

Editorial: Your friend, not enemy

Unprecedented attacks on the media hit the very protectors of our democracy

Could anyone have imagined the day would come when it was necessary to rally support for a free press in order to protect one of our most fundamental freedoms from attack by the president of the United States?

Yet that is the reality we, our fellow journalists and the nation face today from a president who has declared the press the "enemy of the people" and whipped up his supporters to physically and verbally threaten reporters going about their jobs.

The president is waging an open war on the press, broadly accusing it of making up stories and publishing "fake disgusting news." He repeatedly attempts to intimidate reporters, including inciting his own supporters to follow his example and taunt the press at his public events.

Today we join in an unprecedented coordinated expression of concern by newspapers across the country to focus public attention on the dangers of the president's attacks. In a project initiated little more than a week ago by the Boston Globe, hundreds of media organizations large and small are publishing editorials this week to describe, in their own words, why citizens should be alarmed by the president's relentless hostility to the news media, his attempts to turn citizens against it, and the dangers to our democracy his politically motivated attacks present.

How vulnerable is press freedom? What does it take to undermine and destroy the credibility of institutions that are built upon trust and integrity and that citizens depend on to hold those in power accountable? Is our democracy sufficiently resilient to weather a president who shows no respect for the importance of a vigorous independent press?

Those are among the questions being asked today by defenders of democracy and all believers in a free society. From the nation's capital to small communities, every news organization is affected when its integrity is so sweepingly and indiscriminately challenged by a president with the power to reach and influence the entire country.

We are fortunate to live in a community that has a deep respect for the work our reporters and editors do and for the role journalists play in serving the public interest. That doesn't mean readers or elected officials agree with everything we write or every position we take in editorials, nor should it.

But professional journalists set out every day to gather the facts, evaluate the credibility of their sources and do everything possible with the resources they have to convey the full context and significance of the news. They are not guided by either their own political agendas or those of their employer. They are working for you.

Newspapers and other media organizations don't want to fight a war with the president of the United States. There will be no winners in such a battle; the ultimate result will be the undermining of two critically important institutions and the rise of extremism, or worse.

Those whose profession it is to report the news fairly and accurately need to be reminding their readers of how integral a free press is to the health of our democracy, including within the smallest of local communities, and how toxic it is when the president intentionally attempts to erode trust in the press.

Newspapers and professional journalism are facing threats on many fronts, including the president's recent imposition of tariffs on the Canadian newsprint used by most U.S. newspapers, which threatens to put many newspapers out of business. Virtually every newspaper is struggling to adapt to steady decreases in advertising revenue and many have closed down, leaving cities larger and smaller than ours with no reliable source of local news.

So what can you, our readers, do to support a free and independent press as envisioned by our founders?

First, think about and talk with others about what our community would be like without newspapers. Redirect those who may legitimately complain about errors or omissions in specific stories to the importance of having a news organization dedicated to informing the public and holding elected officials accountable, and the consequences of losing that local institution.

Second, call people out when they invoke the president's language in criticizing local press coverage. "Fake news" is often real news that someone wishes hadn't been published. Stop using the term. Doing so only emboldens the president and furthers his false narrative.

Finally, subscribe to the newspapers you read and value. That financial support will determine the survival of most local news organizations and is the most tangible way to embrace the press freedoms that are under attack. We'd welcome your support, which you can give by clicking on the "Join" tab on our website, AlmanacNews.com.

Comments

113 people like this
Posted by WildCat
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Aug 16, 2018 at 3:33 pm

The trust in media is at the lowest level ever. Less than 20% of people trust the media. That is not President Trump’s fault. It is media’s fault. The overwhelming bias in the media and intense hatred for our president has compromised journalistic integrity. The rudeness and disrespect shown our president is shameful. How would the media react if Obama was attached by Jim Acosta in the same manner that he attacks Trump? Yes, there are still good journalists, but unfortunately they have become rare. [Portion removed due to violation of terms of use]


66 people like this
Posted by Yet More Of The Same Nonsense
a resident of another community
on Aug 16, 2018 at 3:40 pm

And yet again, the -45 cult has to show off their ability to repeat nonsense.

"The overwhelming bias in the media and intense hatred for our president has compromised journalistic integrity. The rudeness and disrespect shown our president is shameful. How would the media react if Obama was attached by Jim Acosta in the same manner that he attacks Trump?"

Uh...yeah. Guess you have forgotten that it was -45 that started this whole business by attacking the press when they told THE TRUTH about his various nefarious dealings.

"Yes, there are still good journalists, but unfortunately they have become rare. Fake News is real and must stop before the media can again be trusted."

Agreed. That is why Fox "News" needs to be taken off the air, now.

"The Almanac is a great publication and is not the target of Trump's comments. His comments are directed at CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC, NYT, and WP, the purveyors of Fake News."

Because -45 says so? I would be willing to ventured that you have never -- repeat, NEVER -- actually looked at any of the media you so viciously criticize.


14 people like this
Posted by Igloo Coolers
a resident of Atherton: other
on Aug 16, 2018 at 4:29 pm

"Less than 20% of people trust the media."

Your source? (link) I'd love to see the tabs on that study.


54 people like this
Posted by Yet More Of The Same Nonsense
a resident of another community
on Aug 16, 2018 at 4:42 pm

@Igloo Coolers -- pretty sure the "source," if there is one, is straight from Fox "News."

You know, the same "source" for a lot of fake statistics...


106 people like this
Posted by WildCat
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Aug 16, 2018 at 5:19 pm

There are numerous polls that show the media is not trusted, including Gallup and Monmouth. I suggest you read them.

According to the WASHINGTON POST, 91% of the network "news" coverage of Trump is negative. Yet, Trump's approval ratings are higher than either Obama or Reagan at this point in their first terms. This further shows the lack of trust in the mainstream media. Just the facts!


102 people like this
Posted by WildCat
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Aug 16, 2018 at 5:38 pm

Her's your link from Politico:

Web Link


89 people like this
Posted by Yet More Of The Same Nonsense
a resident of another community
on Aug 16, 2018 at 6:33 pm

A poll conducted using 803 respondents? You know what that's called, sport? STATISTICALLY INSIGNIFICANT.

I realize that you have no *real* evidence to support your delusions, but can't you do better than that?

BTW -- the "negative" coverage about -45 you complain about? Look at -45's actions, and tell me how much lipstick you would need to put on *that* pig...


3 people like this
Posted by Igloo Coolers
a resident of Atherton: other
on Aug 16, 2018 at 10:02 pm

Okay, thanks for pointing out the Moumoth poll. Question:

Donald Trump and CNN

Trust Trump more------35%
Trust CNN more--------48%
Trust both equally----13%
Don’t know-----5%


Only 803 sampled.


2 people like this
Posted by Igloo Coolers
a resident of Atherton: other
on Aug 16, 2018 at 10:20 pm

re: "According to the WASHINGTON POST, 91% of the network "news" coverage of Trump is negative."


That statement above is FAKE NEWS itself, or at the least, grossly misleading.

The "study" wasn't done by WaPo, but in fact by Brent Bosell's conservative shop, the MRC and it's affiliate. It was merely highlighted in a WaPo op-ed piece - NOT reported by WaPo.

For reference: MRC has a dodgy record, such as the time they flipped the numbers on a BLM popularity poll to fit their agenda. In fact, that poll showed many more Americans supported the goals of BLM.

I will not link to such a site out of principle; instead pasting from that page:

MRC: "Buried in the weeds: They also asked if Americans approve or disapprove of Black Lives Matter: 50 percent approved, and 33 percent disapproved. [CORRECTION: The original version of this article had these numbers incorrectly reversed.]"



So, thanks to poster Wildcat above, attacking Fake News with fake news. Well played.

(Not.)


2 people like this
Posted by Igloo Coolers
a resident of Atherton: other
on Aug 16, 2018 at 10:23 pm

wildcat again: "Less than 20% of people trust the media."

His later politico link shows his mistake. While not a large difference, the number is OVER 20%, not "less than".


105 people like this
Posted by Wildcat
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Aug 16, 2018 at 11:20 pm

This is the link to the Gallup poll and yes it shows less than 20% have confidence in the media. Please note it was low even when Obama was president. The media has a credibility problem and blaming Trump doesn’t fix it.

Web Link


93 people like this
Posted by Yet More Of The Same Nonsense
a resident of another community
on Aug 16, 2018 at 11:36 pm

And the -45 cultist just can't stop...so how much *exactly* are they paying you to post this nonsense here?

I guess the point that -45 has declared war on the media in order to save his own hide is completely eluding you. Then again, being part of the -45 cult means that you can't see the truth right in front of your face...


2 people like this
Posted by Igloo Coolers
a resident of Atherton: other
on Aug 16, 2018 at 11:40 pm

Your link is to a 2014 poll. And yet you still misrepresent the poll.

First you linked to the politico poll which showed 23%, yet you insisted it was "Less than 20% of people trust the media."

That's either lazy writing, or deliberately trying to misrepresent.

Then you link to an old Gallup and again claim "it shows less than 20%" when the sub-head clearly reads "Across newspapers, TV, and Internet, confidence no higher than 22%".

Again, not a big difference, which begs the question: why are you restate or lie about it, when your own link is so clear?



The quite odd fact is how hard you searched for an old poll to try to fit to your fictional number, when Gallup has a newer poll with clear text that doesn't need to be lied about or restated by you:


Gallup "JUNE 28, 2017 - In U.S., Confidence in Newspapers Still Low but Rising"

27% say they have "a great deal" or "quite a lot" of confidence in newspapers
24% of U.S. adults say they possess confidence in television news.
Americans have even less confidence in news that appears on the internet (16%)


Back to topic: bravo to the Almanac for a principled stand!


28 people like this
Posted by Kevin
a resident of Portola Valley: Los Trancos Woods/Vista Verde
on Aug 17, 2018 at 10:42 am

Kevin is a registered user.

@Wildcat,
Who cares what vague assessments Gallup and other polls show, unless they get highly specific about sources ? There are a huge number of "news commentary" sources, like Fox's Hannity, plus other infotainment channels like TMZ that masquerade as real news sources, that I rate as unreliable for hard news. But to lump the NYT, WaPo or the hard news components of CNN with those is disingenuous and foolish. Smart readers and viewers can discern the differences and choose appropriately. Foolish and biased readers and viewers either gravitate to commentary that suits their political bent, or ignore the press altogether at their peril.

But I personally glad we have a press that is holding this president accountable for his blatant lies and unfulfilled promises, since his supporters clearly aren't.


12 people like this
Posted by menlo mom
a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on Aug 17, 2018 at 1:05 pm

menlo mom is a registered user.

@Igloo Cooler "Back to topic: bravo to the Almanac for a principled stand!"

I 100% disagree and am incredibly disappointed that my local paper decided to jump on this feel-good, reinforce-our-own-high-opinion-of-ourselves bandwagon. When is the last time the Almanac reported or did an editorial (the editorial board, not a guest columnist) on a national issue? I LOVE that about a local paper...we hear all the divisive rhetoric from all the other news sources, I don't need it from the Almanac. Let's save the editorials for things like, who to endorse for the local school board election, or pro-growth vs NIMBY issues.

As far as the "fake news" battle, we can keep going back and forth on what the polls show on this, but I'll tell you that I, and my closest friends and family, don't trust the media...not CNN, not MSNBC, and not Fox. What I wouldn't pay for ONE station that is unbiased.

Forget obvious Fake News...It's the constant slant that is so frustrating. My husband and I switch back and forth between Fox and CNN in the mornings and joke about the vastly different headlines they have. My high school daughter asked the other day, "Which other station, other than Fox, gives the conservative side?" Me: "None." Her, "Wait..NONE?"

And, Igloo Cooler, if you really don't think that the news that you are getting from CNN or MSNBC is not slanted 100% towards the left, supplying only the stories that feed into their narrative, I have a bridge to sell you. They've done the math...those on the coasts and in the big cities have more money to spend, therefore that's who've they've decided to gear their advertising dollars...and news towards these people. They have every right to do that. But it makes me sad that people, like my daughter, who are still attempting to form their own opinions, are being exposed to only one side of most issues, and they're getting it from ALL fronts...their teachers (our local high schools and 99% of all colleges), the mainstream news media, every single nighttime comedy host, Hollywood in general. This may not bother you, because you are on the same side. You may not even realize it, because you only speak with people who have the same views as you, so it may not strike you that there are people out their with differing opinions.

So, Fox may be more blatant in their version of "Fake News" but don't kid yourself that any of the other stations are any better. Possibly just more subtle.


12 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of another community
on Aug 18, 2018 at 5:36 pm

Curmudgeon is a registered user.

"According to the WASHINGTON POST, 91% of the network "news" coverage of Trump is negative."

I deduce that Fox News supplies the remaining 9% of Trump's network "news" coverage.


104 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 18, 2018 at 8:13 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

Curmudgeon:

hard to report positively when the person you're reporting about does nothing but produce negative news. Can't blame the press for accurately reporting what is.


10 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Aug 18, 2018 at 8:50 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

The best and only way to deal with "fake news" is to utilize a variety of sources and then make your own judgement on what is the "truth".

Read the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Wash Post and Wash Examiner and you will get a well balanced perspective.

Or read The Week magazine which combines all of the different perspectives and sources.


But don't just read/watch the single news source which reflects your own biases.


Like this comment
Posted by Lynne Bramlett
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 21, 2018 at 9:37 am

Lynne Bramlett is a registered user.

Many of the comments pertain to news coming from television. I don't watch these types of shows as I prefer to read and the few times I've watched TV "news" -- I've seen a pronounced slant. Generally speaking, I find written news accounts from reputable major newspapers or news magazines more objective. I agree with Peter Carpenter that it's important to read from a variety of sources. I've been taking "The Week" for years, which is a news magazine that started in the UK, and I consider this magazine's reporting objective, balanced and fair. Related to the general issue of news discourse is the topic of civility. A number of years ago, I came across the books on civility by P.M. Forni, a professor, who founded the Civility Institute at John Hopkins. His two charming books on civility (Choosing Civility and The Civility Solution: What to do When People are Rude) are an enjoyable and helpful read. His ideas have helped me to practice more civility in my day-to-day life. I would like to see more civility in our society. During our upcoming active electoral campaign season, I hope that all candidates for office will run clean campaigns that focus on the issues and refrain from ad hominem attacks. With more civility, we might see less political polarization.


22 people like this
Posted by Lynne Bramlett
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 21, 2018 at 8:19 pm

Lynne Bramlett is a registered user.

Forgot to say how much I appreciate The Almanac and the Daily Post for local news coverage. Also appreciate the Daily Journal for broader San Mateo County coverage. I think all these papers strive to deliver fair, objective and balanced reporting and I try to read the Post and the Daily Journal daily, and the Almanac weekly. Their collective reporting has helped to keep me informed on local issues and, at times, served to shine some spotlights where sunshine was needed. I think our local democracy is much better off thanks to our local papers and their staff. The human interest stories also help to create community. For broader news, I subscribe to The Week (magazine) and daily versions of the Mercury News and The San Francisco Chronicle. While on trips, I very much enjoy reading The New York Times, The Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Salt & Straw Palo Alto to open Nov. 23
By Elena Kadvany | 0 comments | 4,336 views

Lakes and Larders (part 2)
By Laura Stec | 0 comments | 1,475 views